What Qualifies as
Solicitation of a Minor?

Any conviction for a sex-related crime requires registration as a sex offender. For those convicted of any sex-related crime involving a minor, “pedophile” is a label that they may never be able to shed.

Digital technology, including the internet, cell phones, and social media, have made it easier for people to commit to solicitation and create digital evidence that is difficult, perhaps even impossible, to erase. However, like most sex crimes, solicitation of a minor is not always what it seems. In other cases, it is.

If you have been charged with solicitation of a minor, you may experience serious repercussions for the rest of your life. The charge is worth fighting, especially if you believe you are innocent.

At Melanson Law Office, I have the knowledge and resources necessary to assist your situation. I represent clients charged with solicitation of a minor throughout the Hudson Valley, including Hudson, Kingston, Highland, Catskill, New Paltz, Saugerties, and Poughkeepsie, New York. If you have been charged, I can help.

What Qualifies as Solicitation
of a Minor in New York?

Solicitation is asking, encouraging, causing, or coercing someone to engage in a sexual act. When that someone is under the age of 16, it qualifies as solicitation of a minor. There is no requirement that any act actually occurred, merely that the adult charged solicited the minor.

Solicitation charges could stem from any unlawful contact with a minor. Asking the minor to engage in any illegal act, including sexual acts, sexual exploitation or abuse of other children, lewd behavior, prostitution, and acts involving obscene performances or materials.

Charges could also stem from online solicitation of a minor or undercover law enforcement posing as a minor. Examples include asking a minor to meet you to perform sexual acts or asking a minor to take a photo of their genitalia and electronically transferring it via email, social media, or text messaging.

Are There Any Defenses?

There are a few defenses your criminal defense attorney can employ, depending on the circumstances surrounding the charge:

  • You asked to meet the minor for non-sexual reasons;
  • The victim presented to be of legal age, and you had no reason to suspect otherwise;
  • Law enforcement coerced you or used other tactics to entrap you; or,
  • Law enforcement did not adhere to the law in its investigation.

What Are Penalties for a
Solicitation Conviction?

Solicitation of a minor may be charged as a Class A misdemeanor or a Class E felony in New York. Soliciting a child under age 16 to commit an act that constitutes a crime is a misdemeanor. Soliciting a minor to commit an act that constitutes a felony is a felony offense.

A conviction for a Class A misdemeanor may result in up to one year in jail or three years of probation and a fine of up to $1,000. A conviction for a Class E felony may result in up to four years of incarceration or probation. A conviction will also require that you register as a sex offender.

There are additional punishments for any crimes you commit related to the solicitation charge, for example, child pornography, child abuse, or sexual assault.

If you are between the ages of 18 and 20, prosecution for underage solicitation of a minor charge may be handled in either family court or adult court. If it is adjudicated by family court, you may have the opportunity to participate in a diversion program which, if successfully completed, will not result in a conviction on your record.

How Melanson Law Office Can Help

As a former prosecuting attorney, I understand how cases are built against those charged with crimes, including solicitation of a minor. I use my experience on the other side of the courtroom to aggressively defend my clients throughout New York’s Hudson Valley, including Kingston, Highland, Catskill, New Paltz, Saugerties, and Poughkeepsie, New York. If there are unsubstantiated allegations or circumstances that can raise doubt, I can help.

A conviction for solicitation of a minor will damage your future, so fight back. Call Melanson Law Office P.C. now to schedule a consultation.


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